Teenager Hubert haughtily regards his mother with contempt, and only sees her tacky sweaters and kitsch decorations. In addition to these irritating surface details, there is also his parent's cherished mechanisms of manipulation and guilt. Confused by this love/hate relationship that obsesses him more and more each day, Hubert drifts through the mysteries of adolescence - artistic discoveries, illicit experiences, the opening-up to friendship, and ostracism. The turbulent relationship between mother and son unfolds with a compelling combination of savage fury and melting affection. The stunning, semi-autobiographical directing debut of 20-year-old actor Xavier Dolan.Written by
Warsaw Film Festival
"J'ai tue ma mere" seems a little rough around the edges and Xavier Dolan doesn't frame his shots so that they're picture perfect, but it seemed to suit the story. More to the point, what was happening inside the frame was much too interesting, and often moving, and I watched the movie in its entirety from beginning to end.
"J'ai tue ma mere" is the story of a gay teenager and his mother in a single-parent household. Man, do I know that territory well! I don't like the word "dysfunctional" - it's coined psycho-babble. The household depicted here is about as real as I've ever seen in a film. It functions as well as it can given the tight quarters mother and son share. They're continually sparring. Hubert, wary, entirely self-centred and quite the drama queen, goes on rants and tries to push his mother's buttons and test her love, but when he needs a favour, it's back to calling her "mommy". I loved her philosophical stoicism, an attitude she developed, I would guess, to protect herself from hurt, and I was touched by Hubert's back-pedalling when he thinks he's gone too far. Both sweet and raw, this is is a relationship of love. I smiled during the scene when mom brings up his homosexuality and he's caught off-guard. Actually, I smiled for a number of reasons, one of which was because, for once, Hubert was speechless.
The film is open-ended, the way life is, and the way the young view life, far-reaching and full of possibilities. It's a lovely film - warm, frank and not without a little self-deprecating humour and genuine wit (the shot of the Virgin Mary, within a specific context). I was left with the feeling that this was a chapter in a life, a relationship, and I felt optimistic. Perhaps, one day, Xavier Dolan will continue the story on film. I look forward to it.
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